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Satellite Falling #1

Written by Steve Horton
Art by Stephen Thompson
Published by IDW
Lilly is a bounty hunter on a space station called Satellite, navigating dozens of species by disguising herself as each one in turn. When local police ask her to serve as bait in a narcotics sting, she quicky finds herself over her head.

This is a great story in and of itself. The character designs for the alien creatures are vivid and varied, and the attention to the scummy atmosphere calls up good memories of sci-fi noir like Blade Runner or the Cantina. The tension in the bounty hunting and especially the drug mission mounts steadily, and the dialogue distinctly sets main characters Lilly and her Chief up as friends who don’t really trust each other yet.

But the reason I loved this book is that this story has a lot to say about gender and sexuality, and it uses the silly tropes of alien beings to enrich the conversation. Lilly opens with a monologue that she has moved to this bizarre Satellite because the pain of losing her girlfriend was so bad that she had to go somewhere that nothing could remind her, and even then, she thinks about her all the time. When she finally lets herself take a new lover, she struggles with guilt and grief in a deeply beautiful way. And her choice of lover is from an alien species that can change shape and thus gender presentation. In a state that has lost its mind about genitals and bathrooms and the way we treat sexual minority, it is refreshing to read a relationship where a woman shrugs and accepts that her girlfriend might present as male from time to time.

I want more books like this. I want books where we as readers can forget about the sexuality of the main characters because the comic medium has accepted a consistent diversity of representation. But until that happens, I hope we can keep supporting great examples like Satellite Falling. Pick up your copy at Ultimate Comics in Raleigh or Chapel Hill and smile smugly when you imagine our governor having a fit at how you spent four bucks.